Reports from Associated Press reveal that the State Department has closed down its email system following a security attack. The news comes after the details of a hack attack on the White House in October were made public. It seems that the email State Department's unclassified email system was attacked at the same time, and technicians are currently working to repair the damage.
It was suggested that last month's White House hack was linked to Russia, but it is not yet clear whether the attack on the email system is part of the same security breach. The email closure is described as "unprecedented", but officials insist that classified data systems have not been affected.
Although the breach took place back in October, the decision to shut down the email system was only taken on Friday. Following the attack on the White House, other agencies such as the US Postal Service and the National Weather Service have also suffered attacks, and a spokesperson said that turning off email was part of a scheduled outage to make improvements to security.
Speaking to NextGov the spokesperson said that State employees' ability to access email and public websites had been interrupted, but went on to say that it was hoped that systems would be back up and running soon. No explanation has been given about why there was such a delay between detecting the attacks and shutting down systems for maintenance.